Grovers should know that the Smyth County Board of Supervisors are looking out for us. At a recent meeting, the board decided to apply categorical funding to Smyth County Schools instead of traditional funding. This is beneficial to us because it makes sure that money is being spent where it was originally designated rather than allowing the Superintendent and school board to move funds around and decide how they would like to spend them.
Last year Sugar Grove School was consolidated causing irreversible damage to the community and school that moved us closer to closure in the future and certainly made us an easier target for it where budget was cited. The decision to close the school was largely based upon a supposed lack of funding that likely resulted from reckless spending in the recent past and new debts which had to be paid for.
Categorical funding works differently from traditional budget in that the Smyth County Board of Supervisors will appropriate sufficient funds to the school system but along with that, the funds will be divided into 6 or 7 different categories. In other words, the budget is already earmarked for the school board when appropriated. An example would be, if the school board says they need 3 new buses, money would be placed the budget specifically for 3 buses. They wouldn’t be able to decide later on to purchase only 2 buses and then move the rest to hire a new position for the central office, give raises or increase benefits as has largely been the case in the past. Rather than being able to move funding themselves, they would have to make a request to the Smyth County Board of Supervisors to re categorize funding and release it to a different budget area.
This is good for Sugar Grove because it brings about closer supervision where the budget and spending is concerned. It also takes into consideration the concerns of taxpayers when the school board recklessly spends budget money and then claims they need to make cuts in a community like ours resulting in lower property values and long term damage to a community. These changes will allow for a better approach to budgeting from county officials and school officials.
Smyth County Schools adopted a budget of approximately 48.5 million and plan on asking Smyth County Board of Supervisors for an additional $545,512 in local funding.